Headshot of Benigna Cortés Leiss

Benigna Cortés Leiss

Nonresident Fellow in Latin American Energy


Benigna Cortés Leiss is the former general director of Chevron Energía de México. Before her retirement in 2017, she held numerous leadership positions during a more than 20-year tenure with Chevron and its predecessor companies. She was an active participant in the design of Mexico’s energy reform. Jointly with other industry colleagues, she identified the need to formalize their association to be more productive in providing feedback to the government and related agencies. As a result, Leiss became one of the founding members of the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies and served on its board of directors for two terms. Leiss is also a leader of Mexico’s Women in Energy. In 1979, she moved to Houston, where she worked for an economics consulting bureau, natural gas pipeline companies, and international exploration and production companies, serving in technical, management, business development and executive roles. In 2016, Leiss was recognized as one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico by CNN Expansion and among the 100 most impactful leaders of Mexico’s energy sector by Petroleo y Energía magazine.

Leiss received her B.S. in economics from the Universidad de Chile and a master’s degree in international economics from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England.

Contact at Benigna.C.Leiss@rice.edu or 713-348-2217.